Senator Peter Nwaoboshi got approval for an N1.2 billion loan from NEXIM Bank as a member of its Board of Directors, yesterday.

A top source at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the loan was approved by the Board of Directors in a suspicious manner.

“The senator excused himself during the meeting of the board only to return after the approval,” the source said.

Nwaoboshi, representing Delta North at the Senate, is being investigated over alleged diversion of part of the loan granted to him by NEXIM Bank under the local industrial growth scheme in 2014.

The money meant for the purchase of equipment and electrical materials was allegedly diverted to acquire properties in Lagos by the senator.

“Criminal diversion is a serious offense and NEXIM may have to report him to the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the EFCC source said.

A federal high court in Lagos had in April ordered the temporary forfeiture of a 12-storey building belonging to the senator over an alleged contract scam of N1.5bn.

But the senator filed two actions before a court in Lagos and a federal high court in Asaba, seeking to vacate the interim forfeiture order by Justice Abdulaziz Anka.

The Federal High Court Asaba refused the ex parte application, and fixed further hearing for October 3, 4, and 5, 2017.

The said building which the court ordered Mr. Nwaoboshi to forfeit to the federal government is located at 27, Marine Road, Apapa.

Joined with Nwaoboshi in the application were his two companies - Golden Touch Construction Project Limited, and Bilderberg Enterprises Limited.

The EFCC told the judge that Mr. Nwaoboshi, through his company, Bilderberg Enterprises Limited, got N1.580 billion contract to supply some construction equipment to the Delta State Direct Labour Agency in 2010.

The EFCC, however, said Mr. Nwaoboshi’s company supplied second-hand equipment to the agency while he collected money to supply new equipment, thereby short-changing the agency.

The EFCC said Nwaoboshi later used the proceeds to bid for and purchase the 12-storey building, formerly known as Guinea House, for N805m in the name of his company, Golden Touch Construction Project Limited.

The senator is also alleged to have forged assets declaration documents before the Code of Conduct Bureau, where he concealed 46 different accounts to which he is a signatory, the EFCC source stated.

Contacted, Nwaboshi, in a phone interview, confirmed that one of the companies he has interest in truly secured a loan but that it was properly utilized.

He said the company, after securing a contract in Delta State, needed a facility to execute it, hence the NEXIM Bank was contacted.

“I did not buy any property anywhere worth N1.2 billion. Yes, NEXIM Bank gave a loan to a company which I have interest. The loan was properly secured and utilized for the purpose for which it was taken."

“The loan was taken to execute a contract for the Delta State government. The company has executed the contract and domiciled the payment at NEXIM Bank. The Delta State government has been paying NEXIM Bank directly and that was the purpose for which the contract was taken,” he said.

Mr. Nwoboshi, who chairs the Senate Committee on NDDC, said a Delta State government cheque was even given to the bank on Wednesday as part of the payment of the loan.

Asked how much has been paid so far, he said: “I don’t know but what I know is that EFCC has written the Delta State government seeking information on this. The state government has acknowledged that they are owing to the company.” 

He said the loan was acquired for the purchase of raw materials and equipment for the Delta State contract.

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